Sunday, January 22, 2012

Howdy-Doody Mouth...Modified

I've always been a watcher. People are the most interesting of God's creatures...anyway, for me. Living in a retirement community, I've had the opportunity to observe a lot of us older folks. 

As a young woman, my mother always told me to smile.  "All your winkles will go up, if you smile," she said.  Mom started showing some wrinkles in her 90's...and she was notorious for her smile and laughter.

Well, for those of you who know me well, I have also spent a great deal of my time smiling and laughing...Thank you, God.  And mom was right...the wrinkles, for the most part, do go up.  But what about that area around your know, the "Howdy-Doody mouth" that seems to appear around our 60th birthday?  My good friend Carole, as we were walking around Keeler Lake one fall day, first dubbed this part of our anatomy as the "Howdy-Doody" mouth.  It's that part of your face extending from the nostrils to the outer corners of the mouth and down the chin line and into the jaw.  If you totally relax your 60 year old face, the "Howdy-Doody" mouth appears.  It happens to almost all of us.  Some folks even get it in their 50's. 

The  effect can be lessened in two ways.  The first way, and not one highly recommended, however one I have seen often at the community pool, is to fall asleep in the sun.  The mouth naturally drops open in a wide O-shape and, if the head is tilted far enough back, the lines defining the "Howdy-Doody" mouth completely disappear....however, it immediately reappears when the person snorts and jerks awake and is often accompanied by drool.  The second way is more socially acceptable and actually works.  You may want to practice this in front of a mirror.  Looking at your reflection, with a relaxed face in the Howdy-Doody position, just slightly take the corners of your mouth and slide them into the beginning of a smile.  Don't over-do....and no smirking allowed.  When you achieve the erasure of the lines making your puppet mouth, hold it.  Get used to this position, practice it, and employ it.  It will take years off of your face and its a simple exercise...not at all like sit ups or squats.  Try it.  Tell me what you think.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Off I Went To Strangers...

I certainly didn't think I would enter the New Year with what I now affectionately refer to as "hoof and mouth."  My poor arthritic knee really got itself into a world of hurt and needed help. My equally poor tooth, right in front of my molar on the right side, had lost part of its crown while doing a crunching, grinding job on...can you believe this?...a carrot stick!
If I were at home I would know exactly who to call to help me with such maladies.  As it turned out, I did call both my hometown dentist and my primary care physcian.  My dentist's assistant told me to get an x-ray evaluation from a local Florida dentist.  If the tooth could wait, I was to hang in there and they would fix me up when I returned to Michigan.  I called a friend who is a  Florida resident who told me of a dentist in Naples...and when I contacted the office...sure enough, he could fit me in.
My next doctor was just as handy.  The Orthopedic Center of Southwest Florida in Ft. Meyers looked professional and talented on the internet and yes, they could also fit me in.  So, off I went to strangers in the first week of January, 2012.  And, yes indeed, I went with a whole lot of gratitude, cuz I had a very sore knee and a cropped and jagged snaggle-tooth.  Happy New Year to me!

You may recall, I spent Christmas with a bunch of very nice strangers...but that was with food, drink, and merriment.  I should have indulged in at least the drink part to help me with this second group of strangers.  I'll not name names, unless you call me personally and ask, but my jaw and gum line is just now (two weeks later) feeling somewhat normal.  And guess what?  The Florida dentist office called today to make my follow up appointment for the permanent crown. It has arrived.  Whoopee!  We have a tentative appointment for next week, IF my jaw is normal.  We'll see.  I can't wait, really...I can't.

My orthopedic doctor was more entertaining and less painful than the dentist.  Rob was with me for this appointment.  I was given the usual knee x-ray and it was reaffirmed that I have arthritis in my knee.  Yep...that's why I was here, in a medical building, on a very beautiful, sunny Florida day instead of at the beach. We talked a bit about my level of pain and what I had been doing to alleviate it. The doctor moved my knee into various positions. Then the dear man asked me to walk on my heels, then on my toes, then to squat down as far as I could and "walk like a duck."  I haven't done this sort of nonsense since I was a young girl...maybe fourth grade.  Didn't this doctor notice that I was 67 years old and over-weight?  Evidently not. 

Rob stood in the corner of the office and, out of the corner of my eye, I could see him rock back on his heels, in sympathy, as I attempted the first part of the task.  Again, when I got up on my tippy-toes, I could see a slight elevation in Rob's height as he, too, lifted up on his toes.  However, I saw no empathy from my spouse as I squatted down and could barely, just barely, "walk like a duck."  I noticed a small smirky smile that quickly left Rob's face, to be replaced by a more concerned look, when I glared back at him over my shoulder.  As you might expect, Rob did not attempt to show me his "walk like a duck" when we got home, either.  Coward! 
Anyway, this doc did give me a nice little shot in my knee which really has helped me a great deal.  He also wanted me to take a whole bunch of NSAID drugs (anti-inflamatories) which my back home physcian put the nix on real quick.  So for two weeks I have iced my knee 3-4 times per day.  It really feels pretty good...a lot better than my jaw.

Next week I will probably see the dentist, IF my jaw continues to improve.  He won't be a stranger anymore since he's been on my mind a great deal.  I'm really going to do my best not to be strange, crabby, and ornery with him, either. 
The first week in February I will revist the orthopedic doctor and, by then, he won't seem so strange either.  I hope he doesn't want me to perform any other gymnastics.  I may leave Rob at home or perhaps he can sit in the parking lot.